Doctoral Degree

Admissions Requirements


Upon admission to the school, a faculty adviser is assigned based on the evidence in the student’s statement of interest at the time of application and on the general commitments of the faculty. Students may change advisers with agreement of faculty. The adviser has the responsibility to assist the student in planning a program of study that meets the requirements of the Ph.D. program and to guide the student in the dissertation research. Until advancement to candidacy, there are yearly formal evaluations of progress that involve the student, the chair, the faculty adviser, and other faculty. After advancement to candidacy, the evaluation of progress is the responsibility of the formal doctoral committee.

Major Fields or Subdisciplines

The courses offered in the doctoral program cover a range of areas of inquiry in the theory and methodology of information studies, focusing on information-related artifacts (e.g., documents, texts, images, records, collections), agents (e.g., producers, managers, seekers), contexts (e.g., cultural, economic, legal, social, technological), institutions (e.g., organizations, professions, disciplines), practices (e.g., production, design, recording, representation, organization, replication, preservation, retrieval, communication, management, interpretation, use, destruction, policymaking), properties (e.g., authenticity, authorship, identity, reliability, trustworthiness, truth), values (e.g., aesthetic, ethical, functional), and related phenomena (e.g., data, evidence, heritage, knowledge, memory, and misinformation).

Foreign Language Requirement


Course Requirements

A minimum of 72 units of coursework is required.

Students are required to take six core courses in the theory and methodology of information studies: Information StudiesĀ  291A, 291B, 291C, 298A, 298B, and 298C. Students also are required to take three elective courses chosen from graduate courses offered in this department, and three elective courses chosen from graduate courses offered outside of this department.

In addition to the course requirements listed above, doctoral students are required to participate in the Doctoral Research Colloquium, to participate in research apprenticeship activities by enrolling Information Studies 596 for three quarters, and to be reviewed annually by the Doctoral Program committee until advancement to candidacy.

Teaching Experience

Not required.

Written and Oral Qualifying Examinations

Academic Senate regulations require all doctoral students to complete and pass University written and oral qualifying examinations prior to doctoral advancement to candidacy. Also, under Senate regulations the University oral qualifying examination is open only to the student and appointed members of the doctoral committee. In addition to University requirements, some graduate programs have other pre-candidacy examination requirements. What follows in this section is how students are required to fulfill all of these requirements for this doctoral program.

Students are required to pass a written qualifying examination on the theory and methodology of information studies.

After passing the written qualifying examination, the student is required to pass the University Oral Qualifying Examination, which is based on the oral defense of the dissertation proposal. The dissertation proposal and oral defense should be completed within one year after passing the written examination. The oral examination covers the significance of the chosen topic of research, the methodology and feasibility of the research, and the depth of the student’s knowledge in the specific field of the dissertation research.

Advancement to Candidacy

Students are advanced to candidacy upon successful completion of the written and oral qualifying examinations.

Doctoral Dissertation

Every doctoral degree program requires the completion of an approved dissertation that demonstrates the student’s ability to perform original, independent research and constitutes a distinct contribution to knowledge in the principal field of study.

Final Oral Examination (Defense of Dissertation)

Required for all students in the program.


(1) From graduate admission to the written qualifying examination: Expected – one to six quarters.

(2) From graduate admission to the oral qualifying examination: Expected – one to nine quarters.

(3) From graduate admission to the final oral examination: Expected – one to fifteen quarters.


Degree: PhD





Termination of Graduate Study and Appeal of Termination

University Policy

A student who fails to meet the above requirements may be recommended for termination of graduate study. A graduate student may be disqualified from continuing in the graduate program for a variety of reasons. The most common is failure to maintain the minimum cumulative grade point average (3.00) required by the Academic Senate to remain in good standing (some programs require a higher grade point average). Other examples include failure of examinations, lack of timely progress toward the degree and poor performance in core courses. Probationary students (those with cumulative grade point averages below 3.00) are subject to immediate dismissal upon the recommendation of their department. University guidelines governing termination of graduate students, including the appeal procedure, are outlined in Standards and Procedures for Graduate Study at UCLA.

Special Departmental or Program Policy

In addition to the standard reasons outlined above, a student may be recommended for termination for failure of the comprehensive examination on two successive tests. A recommendation for termination is made by the Executive Committee of the faculty based on the advice of the faculty adviser and the chair. The chair notifies the student in writing of the decision. The student may appeal the decision through formal petition to the faculty.

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